CERN Accelerating science

RADECS 2017 meeting in Geneva

by Francis Anghinolfi and Federico Faccio (EP-ESE)

RADECS (RADiation  Effects on Components and Systems) is the yearly European conference gathering world-class scientists in the field of radiation effects in electronics devices and systems. This year the conference has been organised by the partnership between CERN and CNES, the French Space Agency, and has taken place on October 2nd to 6th at the International Conference Centre of Geneva (CICG).

Opening session of RADECS 2017 that was hosted this year in Geneva. (Image Credits: CERN) 

Following a long tradition, the one-week long event is opened by a full day dedicated to a short course, followed by three and half days of technical sessions – including a rich poster session and a radiation effects data workshop mainly focusing on the presentation of results from irradiation experiments of commercial electronics components. The topics discussed during the technical sessions include radiation environments, irradiation facilities, hardness assurance procedures, hardening-by-design approaches, as well as basic radiation mechanisms at the atomic level for both material and electronics components. Modelling or radiation effects are of course also covered, and this year a session dedicated to Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) as well as round-table discussions on selected topics were also included for the first time.

CERN being the host of this edition, a large number of researchers from our community could participate in the conference and benefit of the rich amount of information presented in the technical session. This increased representation also translated in an excellent visibility of the work that the High Energy Physics community is accomplishing in the field: oral and poster presentations related to this work were abundant. This allowed to comparing both the radiation requirements and the qualification approaches of our community with typical specifications and procedures used in other domains where radiation tolerance is required.

The conference has been organized jointly by teams of the EN, EP and IPT-KT departments. The EP participation has been especially visible during the “short course” day entitled “From Space to Ground and below” that had the ambition of summarising and comparing the radiation environments and working practices in Space, Avionics, Terrestrial and High-Energy Physics applications. The course, targeted for both beginners and confirmed professionals in the field, started with a comparison of the radiation environments (G. Santin, ESA) and was followed by lectures on selected topics: total ionizing dose effects in MOS devices (D. Fleetwood, Vanderbilt University), dosimetry techniques and radiation test facilities (F. Ravotti, CERN EP), displacement damage in optoelectronic devices (C. Virmontois, CNES), displacement damage in silicon detectors (M. Moll, CERN EP). To close the day, qualification procedures and best practices for the selection of electronics components for Space (A. Carvalho, Airbus Space Equipment) and for the LHC accelerator and experiments (S. Uznanski, CERN EN) were presented. A record number of more than 300 professionals participated to the course.

RADECS organization team and session chairs (Image Credits: CERN)

A strong industrial exhibition, with 50 booths, prepared in collaboration with CERN's IPT-KT department that supported the event, triggered fruitful interactions between researchers and the industrial representatives. In addition, a networking evening entitled “Swiss Space Night” was organised at the Swiss Tech Conference Center of EPFL with the keynote speeches of Mauro Augelli (CNES/CADMOS), and of the Swiss astronaut Claude Nicollier.

Attracting students has received a special attention, with dedicated social events, the RADSAGA (RADiation and Reliability Challenges for Electronics used in Space, Aviation, Ground and Accelerators) training event in parallel to the conference, and a dedicated sponsorship for helping students to participate.

Including participants in the short course, the technical sessions and also the industrial exhibitors, this year’s RADECS attracted more than 670 participants, coming from 25 countries. This record number of attendees for the RADECS conference testifies for the large interest of the radiation effects community in CERN’s activities. Together with the excellent venue at the CICG, the successful introduction of new themes in the technical session, and the rich social program for both attendees and their companions, this made the RADECS 2017 an outstanding edition of the conference.